An uncertain future awaits those of us whohave become used to the quick convenience provided by the “pehn-pehn” (as commercial motorcycles are locally called) services.Commercial motorcycling has over the past 10 years brought relief to most of Monrovia’s 1.2 million residents in a number of ways: it has helped reduce the incidence of crime in this major city andits environs. It gives would-be delinquents a productive outlet for energy that otherwise would be wasted in unlawful activities such as armed robbery, burglary or auto theft. It could be argued that commercial motorcyclists have also assisted the business sector of the nation by provideing courier services; GSM communications companies hire a number of cyclists.Politicians have also used motorcyclists for advertisement purposes. Also, many commercial motorcyclists have over the past few years made considerable personal progress that is obviously good for the country. However, there have been numerous complaints from the public about motorcycle operators’ recklessness and rudeness in the traffic. There have also been reports of occupants on bikes snatching ladies’ handbags and mobile phones. It is commendable, however, that the leadership of the motorcyclists union moved swiftly to caution members to remain calm, peaceful and professional in their interactions as they (leadership) are working with the Liberian government to ease the restriction. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Today, Malawi took a significant step towards creating a digital payment ecosystem in order to address poverty and drive inclusive growth.An event organized by the Government of Malawi with the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) Better Than Cash Alliance and Mobile Money for the Poor initiatives brought together digital payments players to accelerate the progress of digital finance in Malawi.The convening also marked the release of an in-depth analysis of the country’s readiness to transition from a nearly cash-only economy to one where digital payments are widely available through an ecosystem approach. Goodall Gondwe, MP, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development stated that the transition to digital payments is part of the Government’s commitment to achieving social and economic goals within the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy. “This is part of our mandate to realize balanced and sustainable economic growth and to reduce poverty,” said Gondwe. “We believe creating an economy where digital payments are widely available is the right path for us to embark on and we are doing so based on sound economic and fiscal policies.” The research was conducted through a partnership between the Malawian Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (the country’s central bank), and the Better Than Cash Alliance, and is entitled The Opportunities for Malawi’s Transition Away from Cash.The report detailed the current state of Malawian digital payments, providing an important baseline to track progress. The study also identified four potential opportunities for Malawi, including the Government advancing on digitizing its centralized payment system with support from banks, and merchants accelerating digital payment acceptance via mobile money and debit card at the point of sale. “Malawi is moving forward to build a strong digital ecosystem that will respond to the needs of the people in the country,” said Mr. Tillman Bruett, advisor and program manager, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), a UNCDF initiative, undertaken in Malawi with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).“We expect that as a result, Malawi will progress from 3.5 percent of total active adult population using digital financial services at the start of this year to 15 percent by 2019.” As part of the program, UNCDF plans to provide technical and financial assistance to build capacity in public and private sector organizations to support the switch from cash to digital for the most promising payments streams identified in the research. Making payments in cash can be expensive and inefficient for governments, companies and international organizations. Cash is also difficult to trace, and extremely vulnerable to theft and loss. Many people living in poverty only use cash, and this is a key barrier to broader financial inclusion because cash makes it costly to provide financial services. According to UNCDF, in least developed countries such as Malawi mobile penetration is at 30 percent while access to a bank account is at 14 percent. Mobile payments can therefore be one way to accelerate this shift. Malawi’s approach can set an example for other countries in the early stages of transitioning to digital payments. “Digitization is an important development tool for many countries looking to reduce the cost of delivering payments, increase transparency and increase access to financial services for citizens,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, managing director, Better Than Cash Alliance. “By undertaking this research and by using it to plan its shift, Malawi has taken a bold step in increasing transparency and moving towards an economy where the government, businesses and people can pay and get paid electronically.” Transitioning from cash to digital payments is a complex process, however, and requires collaboration between the government and businesses, as well as building trust and increasing familiarity among citizens. That reality is why leading figures came together today to discuss the diagnostic data and develop a blueprint for the country’s digital payments future. Participants noted that by working collaboratively to address the barriers to transitioning payments from cash to digital, they would be able to accelerate the shift and ensure that it brings real benefits to citizens in the form of greater financial inclusion. USAID/Malawi Mission Director Doug Arbuckle noted in his remarks that, “The U.S. Government is glad to join many other governments and international organizations in encouraging a transition away from cash to digital payments in Malawi. This can be a long road, but the benefits are clear and overwhelming.” Ms. Mia Seppo, United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Program Resident Representative, who spoke at the event, noted, “The introduction of digitization is timely as Malawi is currently going through public service reforms that will ensure equitable access to financial and payment services in a manner that is transparent and efficient.” Malawi is a focus country of MM4P and member of the Better Than Cash Alliance.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Neil Warnock is backing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to repeat his Burton Albion heroics with QPR.Warnock, the interim Hoops boss, will take temporary charge for the last time on Thursday night for the trip to Reading, with Hasselbaink expected to be unveiled as Chris Ramsey’s permanent successor on Friday.The Dutchman has been a revelation in his 12 months as Burton Albion manager, leading the club from League Two to the top League One, and Warnock reckons he can enjoy similar success at Loftus Road.“He set off with a good squad [at Burton] but took them up a level, and I think he can do that here,” said Warnock, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“If we had won last week at Middlesbrough, which we should have done, we would have been two points behind the play-offs and I don’t think there is anything to fear in this league.“It is a great opportunity and a fabulous club.”QPR are sitting 12th in the Championship ahead of Thursday night’s visit to the Madejski Stadium, 15 points adrift of leaders Brighton.But Warnock insists Hasselbaink does not need to make wholesale changes to turn the club into promotion challengers.“I think the squad only needs tweaking,” he said.“There are probably a couple of positions that need a bit more strength in depth but there is a great chance of getting in the play-offs. And once you get in the play-offs, anything can happen.”
A number of houses in the Killylastin area of Letterkenny ere left covered in smoke this morning after a fire on wasteground.The fire spread quickly to nearby shrubbery which caught fire and made the blaze bigger.It is thought the fire was started deliberately. Nobody was hurt during the incident.The blaze has now been extinguished.Blaze leaves houses covered in smoke in Letterkenny was last modified: November 24th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
George Groves’ second attempt to become world champion ended in a crushing loss to Carl Froch, who flattened him in the eighth round of their rematch at Wembley.The Hammersmith man, controversially stopped in round nine after dominating much of the fight when he took on Froch in November, was comprehensively beaten this time around.Last time out he floored the WBA and IBF super-middleweight champion in a blistering first round, but this time Froch was much more effective with his jab and gave Groves problems from the outset.An 80,000 crowd saw Groves, 26, enter on the upper deck of an open-topped London bus, while the 36-year-old champion’s no-frills ring entrance signaled a focused and ruthless display.He shook Groves with a powerful right in the fifth but the challenger regrouped and, after a seventh round in which he brought the left hook into play and twice stung Froch, seemed to be finding his range.But the contest came to a sudden and devastating conclusion in the following round when Groves was laid out by a savage right, prompting the referee to stop the fight without bothering to complete a count.See also:DeGale wins to secure world title shotGroves: I’ll come back better and strongerGroves is lined up for September returnGroves to fight in world title eliminatorFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Building South Africa’s reputation in Africa will take effort from business and the government, as well as all South Africans, a research seminar on the nation’s reputation hears. While South African businesses were respected in other African countries, South Africans were at times perceived as imposing and aggressive. A large part of South Africa’s reputation in Africa is hinged on how well government, business and civil society can work together. It is also up to each and every South African to portray the country favourably. (Image: Gauteng Film Commission)• African Market entry strategy – learning to listen & listening to learn• Angola and the need for cultural competence• SA Inc Fieldwork Research – perspectives on South Africa’s reputation on the African continent• South Africa gets a mixed reaction in Africa• Be bold, keep it real, make it quick: a lesson from Nollywood By Shamin ChibbaFor South Africa to place a firm foot in Africa, the government needs to co-operate more with businesses looking to spread across the continent and build stronger diplomatic relations with other African countries.These were some of the ideas shared at a Brand South Africa research seminar on South Africa’s reputation held at the University of Johannesburg on Wednesday, 16 March 2016. Hosted in partnership with the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, the event was led by a lively discussion among members of government, academia and the private sector and uncovered details of the country’s impact on the African continent.Brand South Africa’s general manager of research, Dr. Petrus de Kock, based his presentation on findings from Brand SA’s SA Inc. research project. Since 2014, De Kock and his team of researchers have visited six African countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola – to get a sense of what the rest of Africa thinks of South Africa across a number of sectors, from arts and culture to business and politics.Read the full presentation: The impact, profile and reputation of South Africa on the African continent.De Kock began with some highlights on South Africa’s performance taken from an EY study which found that the country was, among others, the second largest source of foreign direct investment into Africa and that it was the leading intra-regional investor in the financial services sector. Brand South Africa general manager for research, Petrus de Kock, says South African businesses should do their homework before entering any African market. (Image: Shamin Chibba)Brand SA’s own research shows that South Africa is admired for its seamless transition to democracy and its strong institutions. Other African countries have also taken a liking to its culture and music. “We are seen as a magnet of creative activity,” said De Kock.At the same time, South Africa is seen as losing its competitive edge, and its people are at times perceived as imposing and aggressive. In some cases, experts also believed that South African companies were losing to local competition because they entered foreign markets poorly prepared and with “know it all” attitudes.De Kock suggested that businesses should do their homework before entering a foreign market. This should go beyond employing the services of large consulting companies, such as EY and PWC, to include consultations with the South African embassies, local legal experts, and perhaps most importantly, spending time in the market. This was particularly relevant when it came to entering markets such as Angola, since the two countries shared a difficult, somewhat ‘bi-polar’ history. He said South African businesses looking to enter Angola should first understand the country’s political and administrative context and invest enough time and money in preparing the ground prior to establishing their businesses.De Kock did not only place the onus of building South Africa’s reputation on the corporate sector and the government; all South Africans had to play a part in creating a good image of the country. “Each one of us has a role in shaping South Africa’s reputation, even with what we do at home.”South African businesses were also highly visible and respected, particularly in Nigeria where there were more than 150 companies, he added.South Africa visible but needs to co-operate moreHowever, Professor Chris Landsberg of the SARChI Chair in African Diplomacy, does not think that this is an entirely good thing. “South Africa hits you in the face when you visit other SADC countries. It’s like I’ve left South Africa but never really left it. South African corporations must be a little more sensitive to other African regions.”Landsberg believes South Africa can achieve a “tremendous amount through soft power and diplomacy”. Persuasion, rather than force, he said, would help South Africa gain ground on the continent.Co-operation was important in building good relationships with fellow African nations. South Africa did not know how to engage with fellow Africans, he added.More tellingly, Landsberg said the South African government had unlearned how to co-operate with the private sector and civil society at home. There was a perception that South African companies were running to other African countries so that they could run away from the challenges at home.Building relations with the businesses entering the rest of Africa would only help to bolster the nation’s reputation abroad, he said. “We need to export positive examples of South Africa because our image and reputation is at stake.”
Ahead of the Assembly elections, which are due later this year, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is likely to reshuffle and expand his Cabinet on Saturday, a senior official said here. A Raj Bhavan official confirmed that preparations for oath-taking ceremony were under way. Names of the new Ministers are not yet disclosed, sources said. The Chouhan-led government, in its third term, has 20 Cabinet Ministers, including the CM and nine Ministers of State since December 2013. The State can have a maximum of 35 Ministers. The State Congress, meanwhile, has submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission and written a letter to the Governor saying that the BJP government cannot carry out a Cabinet expansion as the model code of conduct is in force ahead of the February 24 Assembly by-polls in Mungaoli and Kolaras. In the memorandum to the EC, State Congress president Arun Yadav has demanded that the proposed Cabinet expansion be postponed till February 28. In the letter to the Governor, Mr. Yadav said, “This expansion or reshuffle would be against the Constitutional traditions. The proposed expansion, if any, is directly or indirectly a way to influence the electorate.” Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh Salina Singh said she has forwarded the memorandum to the Election Commission of India.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said the remark made by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar about ‘namaz’ (prayer) showed that the BJP was trying to communalise the atmosphere in the country.“India was a Republic governed by a Constitution and neither Mr. Khattar nor anyone else had the right to dictate to people on where they should or should not hold prayers,” said Capt. Singh here. “The BJP seemed to be out to polarise the society on religious lines to garner votes,” he said. Mr. Khattar had on Sunday said ‘namaz’ should be offered in mosques or Eidgahs instead of public places. Reacting to the transfer of Kathua rape-murder case to Pathankot, on the direction of the Supreme Court, Capt. Singh said his government would ensure full security for the victim’s family, lawyer and others during the trial. “Our government was committed to upholding the judicial process as per the apex court’s directives,” he said.
This picture taken June 2, 2017 shows Abieamu, 13, preparing to fight in an underground fight club in Chengdu.Abieamu is among the kids from the Tibetan plateau who were adopted into the Enbo Fight Club in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Though most of the club’s activities are government-sanctioned, Chengdu police launched an investigation into the mixed martial arts (MMA) group in late July after a video showing two 14-year-old boys in a bruising cage fight before a roaring crowd went viral last week. / AFP PHOTO / Fred DUFOURThe 13-year-old fighter in training starts his day at 8 a.m.After a quick breakfast, he heads to a gym in southwest China where more than a dozen other shirtless teenage boys are kickboxing, wrestling and grappling — holding one another in full-body grips until one person yields.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo En Bo, the club’s Tibetan founder, was formerly in the military, and has spent the last 18 years running amateur MMA fighting studios.Enbo Fight Club boasts more than 200 members, with kids comprising just a small fraction.“As long as they meet my standards, we take kids of all ethnic groups, including the Qiang, Hui, Yi and Tibetan minorities,” En Bo told AFP in June. “We have a team that manages their health and safety, as well as teachers who are responsible for their schooling.”The kids’ housing, food and clothes are all provided by the club, En Bo said, and they receive extra “scholarships” if they win fights.But many commentators online were alarmed by the web documentary, streamed on the site Pear Video, in which the kids’ sparring appeared to be sold as a commercial spectacle.ADVERTISEMENT National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Isner, Harrison advance to BB&T Atlanta Open final Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games In the footage, two thin, prepubescent fighters are seen in an octagonal steel cage. One knocks the other down and proceeds to bash him repeatedly about the head and body as the losing fighter cowers on the mat.Models wearing bikini tops and short jeans cheer and a man with a microphone whips up the crowd by saying the boys were “fighting for their fate.”“These kids are tougher than your kids,” the MC says. “Their story is more touching than your kids’. And they have had it much harder than your kids.”The video was a point of fierce debate on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.“Soliciting and using minors to engage in commercial performances which are also violent, while depriving them of a salary, is illegal,” wrote one user named Chen Ming.Others argued that without the club the boys would end up on the street and a possible life of crime.The glaring neon lights, rowdy crowds, and scantily-clad female performers at these public fights did not faze Jihushuojie, a 12-year-old who joined the club one and half years ago.“I’m not really scared of getting hurt,” he told AFP. “Before a fight, I feel relaxed and excited.”China had 500,000 orphans at the end of 2015, with less than 20 percent raised by the state and only about five percent adopted, the latest-available official figures show.The fate of the rest is unclear. Abieamu is among the kids from the Tibetan plateau who were adopted into the Enbo Fight Club in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Many were orphans or came from impoverished homes, and were connected to the club through the local civil affairs bureau.Though most of the club’s activities are government-sanctioned, Chengdu police launched an investigation into the mixed martial arts (MMA) group earlier this week after a video showing two 14-year-old boys in a bruising cage fight before a roaring crowd went viral last week.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsLocal authorities could not be reached for comment Friday. The education department in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture told Chinese media that the underage fighters have been returned to Liangshan and may be matched with new schools.A coach for the club told AFP that most of the kids have returned to the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, where they are continuing their training. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ MOST READ
Ever since the 2G scam first exploded in the UPA’s face in November 2010, the Government has been whipped in Parliament, lambasted by the Supreme Court, chastised by the press and faced the general public’s disgust. It might have thought that by jailing the main accused, former telecom minister A. Raja, this nightmare would come to an end. But that was not to be. Since Raja’s trial started this week, he has come out of jail with all guns blazing. He has accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati of possessing full information and knowledge of all his decisions as telecom minister. He claims to have documentary evidence of this. Raja contends that either all of them should be charged too, or he should be let off.Letters exchanged between Raja and the prime minister in 2007-08 show that the prime minister knew exactly what his telecom minister was doing. Manmohan Singh may not have approved explicitly, but if he disapproved, as the highest authority in Government, Raja argues he could have constituted a GoM or an EGoM on the issue of spectrum allocation and pricing. There is a whole trail of correspondence to corroborate his charges. On the contentious issue of sale of equity by Swan and Unitech to Etisalat and Telenor at huge valuations, Raja has two arguments. First, that the then finance minister Chidambaram had full knowledge of these sales and did not object. The fact is that there may be nothing illegal in these sales as they were dilution of shareholding and all the money came into the companies. Second, if these sales were illegal in any way, then why are Tatas and S Tel, who in fact divested their shareholdings, not being charged at all? These are not prima facie unreasonable arguments. The Raja offensive in court has the Government shaken. How will it deal with these revelations and more probably to come? In order to prove the culpability of Raja and others, the Government will have to prove that illegal gratification was given to him for the granting of the licences. Establishing this money trail is not going to be an easy task and Raja knows that well.Our cover story, written by Senior Editor, Headlines Today, Sandeep Bamzai, puts together the paper trail that Raja is using to defend himself, investigates the extent to which other senior members of the Government may be complicit and delves into what happens next. Bamzai spoke to some of the main accused, including Raja, in court. Says Bamzai, “Raja’s body language was aggressive, he told me that many others in the Government were culpable and that he would name them all.” It seems that more trouble lies ahead for the Government.On a completely different track, we are now exactly a year away from the start of the 30th edition of the Olympic Games which commence in London on July 27, 2012. India won just three medals in Beijing in 2008. Incredibly, that was our best performance. Instead of lamenting why a nation of 1.2 billion people can’t produce more champions, we at the India Today Group would like to contribute to a positive effort with our “Go for Gold” campaign kick-started in this issue. Over the next year, we will first identify the disciplines in which India has a reasonable chance of winning a medal. We will then travel across India to track the sportspersons who have a shot at Olympic glory and report on the progress of their preparations. With this, we hope to raise public consciousness about our potential medal winners and ensure that they get full attention from the Government, sporting federations, sponsors and coaches. India deserves to do better at the Olympics. If the nation puts its mind and effort into it, I am sure we will.